iMAL, Center for Digital Cultures and Technology, Brussels


The State of Things - Exhibition by Overtoon & Werktank

An exhibition by Overtoon & Werktank

At the invitation of iMAL, Overtoon and Werktank put the activities of their residents in the spotlight in a joint exhibition entitled "The State of Things." Overtoon is a platform for sound art, based in Brussels, which produces visual installations with sound as the basis. Werktank is a platform for new and old media art, based in Leuven. It produces and distributes installation art, which explores the relationship between technology and perception. Overtoon and Werktank each have their own identity and vision, but there are also some similarities. They are about the only production platforms for installation art in Flanders, working at the cutting edge of media arts and visual arts. Although Overtoon focuses on sound and Werktank on image, the work of their residents are characterized by a sensory approach to image, light, sound, ... Technology is an integral part of the installations, but mainly serves the work and is never a goal on itself.

The exhibition "The State of Things" presents recents works by four artists, Mats Dekock, Stijn Demeulenaere, Elias Heuninck and Jeroen Uyttendaele, who were in residency at Overtoon and Werktank in 2014 and 2015. The exhibited works share a particular interest in fleeting moments, which manifest themselves in fractions of sound and light. Can you capture a memory or a moment in electrical circuits? The works of Jeroen Uyttendaele (Overtoon) and Mats Dekock (Werktank) use electricity as an expressive medium. Uyttendaele uses electricity in its purest form to generate a spark field, while Dekock questions the functioning of our memory and the way we remember things. Memories are also the theme of the work of Stijn Demeulenaere (Overtoon), which examines the role of our auditory memory. Elias Heuninck (Werktank) designed a camera, that scans the area and slowly creates an image.

In all these works, a moment or a memory is brought to life with mechanical components. An at first sight rational and scientific approach to reality results in creations with strong emotions. Because they differ from our way of experiencing reality and fail to presents it’s complexity, they reveal what is in our human perception. Failure is human, but these installations are a deliberate and desperate attempt to grasp reality with technology, with the intention to create a brutal poetry of the moment.

Mats Dekock – “Memory Screen” (2015)

"Memory Screen" explores the tension between subjective interpretation and objective perception, between memory and imagination. When reconstructing the past, some details remain concealed or become blurry. Others get a prominent place. The reconstruction of a memory is a mental construction of a newly generated image, that reconnects previous impressions and memories through our imagination.

"Memory Screen" plays with the relation between perception and projection. The installation works like a memory screen, onto which a hacked dia projector shoots impressions of experiences and electrical components are saved. The screen has an electric memory, like the retina that recalls impressions for a while, before they fade out.

The output is the LED, which operates as a sensor of perception and projects what it perceives. The capacitor is the storage organ, which is charged by the electricity it receives from the LED and translates what it sees. LED and capacitor form a whole that sees, interprets, imagines and remembers.

Concept & realisation: Mats Dekock / Production: Werktank / With the support of the Flemish Authorities

Stijn Demeulenaere – “61” (2015)

"61" is the first work out of Stijn's artistic research on the phenomenology of sound, or the phenomenology of listening, and was developed during a residency at Overtoon. The installation researches his own history as a listener. In "61" he is working with the recordings he made in his parental home a couple of years ago. The house itself has disappeared since then.

In those last months of the house, he recorded all the sounds he could get his hands on. "61" works with recordings of room tones - the signature background sounds of a room - and a special surround sound setup, using normal and hyperdirectional speakers. The hyperdirectional speakers are mounted on moving pan/tilt units, thus creating a continuously moving grid of sound. It explores how a house - his house, your house, our house - sounds. Which role does sound play in making us feel at home? What does 'a home' sound like, what does your home sound like? How much is this background sound part of our own history, our own identity? How has it contributed to the person he is today, or the person he will be tomorrow?

Concept & realisation: Stijn Demeulenaere / Recordings:  Stijn Demeulenaere, Thomas Demeulenaere
Production: Overtoon / In collaboration with: Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, STUK kunstencentrum, Cimatics / With the support of the Flemish authorities and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels Capital Region

Elias Heuninck – “Lightkeeping” (2015)

Curious about creating a new image quality, Elias Heuninck made a digital camera. A very simple one. Instead of using a complex sensor to capture the whole image in a fraction of a second, it builds up the image pixel by pixel by making one simple measurement at a time. The camera starts at the top left corner and works its way to the bottom right one, just as you are reading this text. To get the information for each position, the camera shoots a short pulse of laser light towards its subject and waits for the light-echo to return. It is then able to find the distance between itself and the object that reflected the light. The collected measurements do not show anything recognisable yet. The data has to be translated first in order to be visible as a greyscale image.

With an exposure time of four days (up to four weeks), it is not the most practical camera around, but it allows to work directly with the building blocks of the picture itself. The resulting images are digital by nature, yet the visual resemblance with prints from the early days of photography is striking. Whereas the conventional camera is a darkroom that captures light, this camera is more like a lighthouse. Similarly, since every point in the image is a distance measurement, the image becomes a map.

Concept & realisation: Elias Heuninck / Voice over: Emi Kodama / Letters : 'The Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot' project / Technical assistance: Culture Crew & Vincent Jacobs / Editing coach: Fairuz & Anouk De Clercq
Production : Werktank & Auguste Orts / With the support of the Flemish authorities

Jeroen Uyttendaele - "Vonkveld#3" (2014)

“Vonkveld 3 “(Dutch for spark field 3) is an audiovisual installation in which electricity is the main expressive medium. A table (2m10 by 1m54) filled with copper swarf is systematically electrified and produces a changing field of spark patterns. The field functions as a horizontal screen generating light and sound in a direct and visceral way. The table is made out of a grid of 80 individually controlled rods which run electricity through the copper shavings. Vonkveld 3 is the third instalment of an extensive research on electricity in a pure form and as an expressive medium. Electricity marked the beginning of the second industrial revolution and remains the main driving force of our current information age. The spark is a symbol for electricity. It is one of the most elementary ways of producing light and sound. The installation reflects on the meaning of communication technology by presenting it in it’s most naked form.

Concept & realisation: Jeroen Uyttendaele
Production: Overtoon / Coproduction: Z33 / With the support of the Flemish authorities


Mats Dekock is a Belgian architect and artist. He studied Architecture at the University of Leuven and Transmedia at LUCA. School of Arts in Brussels.

In his transmedian work, he shifts the emphasis of his architectural discourse from a designer point-of-view to that of a subject embedded within space. The architectural toolbox and discourse remain his key instruments, but it is through the articulation of subjectivity in the dialogue between subject and space, that his architectural artwork arises.

Stijn Demeulenaere is a sound-artist, a radio maker and searching musician. He holds degrees in sociology, cultural studies and studied radio at the RITS school of arts. In 2009 he started out as a sound artist, showing his first installation SmallTalk at the Burning Ice festival at Kaaitheater in Brussels. Stijn is attracted to sound because of its directness, it’s malleability, and it’s mystery. In sound he tries to unravel social structures, personal history and the unconscious imagination of people. He is currently working around the themes of the ruin of listening and the personal experiences of sound. Lately, Stijn has been increasingly involved with dance. He created the soundtracks for the dance pieces As It Fell  by Marisa Cabal and Stav Yeini, and Vartaloiden Kaupunki  by Veli Lehtovaara. Other collaborations included directors and video artists Ychaï Gassenbauer, Pierre van Heddegem and Visual Kitchen.

Elias Heuninck makes videos, graphical designs and interactive works. At the School of Arts in Ghent, he became interested in the different ways in which landscape imagery could evolve into a contemporary form and become the starting point for numerous experiments. Through very simple computer algorithms, he creates an alternative version of these landscapes in which their flat nature is transformed into a spatial quality. As a result, very complex images emerge with both jaggy, digital, poetic and emotional characteristics.

A central theme in Jeroen Uyttendaele’s work is the tangibility and visualization of primal technological principals within a musical framework. This translates itself through the development of audiovisual instruments, installations and sound compositions. The possibilities of his self designed media are the main ingredients for compositions in time and space. The enormous quantity of information which is daily absorbed often doesn't leave its digital module. Content is housed within slick housings, lcd-screens or tiny speakers. Through electronic music, instruments and installations Jeroen searches for a form that is experienced as "real". A language that hides as little as possible but reveals and exploits all internal elements in a non-hierarchical manner. The nature of the material itself becomes thus a substantial part in the meaning of his work.


Thursday November 26 2015

November 27 - December 18 2015
Wed-Sun, 13:00-18:00

Free entrance!

Group visits
+32-2-410 30 93

Location: iMAL
quai des Charbonnages 30 Koolmijnenkaai
1080 Brussels

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